The Warrior President
James Madison is best known for being a small, quiet, scholarly
man and one of the principal authors of the United States Constitution,
he also holds the distinction of being the only American President
to ride armed for battle.
the battle of Bladensburg in August
1814, he arrived armed with a pair of borrowed dueling pistols in
belt holsters and was part of the "lead by political committee"
almost rode into British lines by accident along with Attorney-General
Rush and later sat on his mount observing the opening stages of
the battle from the centre of the American line.
gave no orders, only advice, and once battle was joined was soon
persuaded to go back to the safety of Washington.
President, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of State, the Attorney-General,
several congressmen and some senators were all part of the political
interference at the battle and must share in the blame for one of
the worst American defeats in history.
Cleal describes himself as an old Napoleonic wargamer and amateur
historian. His principal sources were
The Dawn's Early Light
by Walter Lord and The War of 1812 by Harry L. Coles.